Can Medical Marijuana Help End the Opioid Epidemic?

Pot for pain is picking up speed. Should it?

Like many people, economist W. David Bradford says he was under the impression that medical marijuana was something only young people would be interested in. At least, that’s what he thought until his own research began showing otherwise.

In mid-July, he and Ashley C. Bradford, his co-researcher and daughter, published one of the more compelling studies about medical marijuana to date. Their report, which ran in the journal Health Affairs, looked at data on prescriptions filled by Medicare enrollees from 2010 to 2013—and found that older people who qualified for Medicare were, where appropriate, making use of medical pot. Not only that, they also found that when states legalized medical marijuana, prescriptions dropped significantly for painkillers and other drugs for which pot may be an alternative. Doctors in a state where marijuana was legal prescribed an average of 1,826 fewer doses of painkillers per year.

– Read the entire article at TIME.